Réveillon is one of the most important days of the year for Brazilians (after carnival of course, nothing is more important than carnival). Like so many other cultures it is a time to reflect on the past and make new resolutions for the coming year.
Where most (me included) just put on a black dress and have a good dinner followed by a party, the Brazilian have lots of traditions, customs and superstitions to ensure that the coming year is a successful one.
I’ve talked to some of my Brazilian friends and this is what I picked up.
White to ensure peace
The little black dress will have to stay in the closet shadows for this party. Réveillon is all about white. Women wear white dresses paired with beautiful shoes and jewelry. Men wear a white shirt or t-shirt, white shorts or pants. I have a hard time seeing Peter or James willingly wearing white pants, nor do I want to. Light pants have to work just as well. The best part is the clothes have to be new! So ladies have a very legitimate reason to go dress shopping. And the stores have racks and racks of white dresses and rompers. The manikins in the windows are all dressed in white. So finding something is easy. The white, brand new clothes are supposed to ensure peace though out the new year.
Yellow for wealth, blue for harmony
A common Brazilian superstition is about wearing different colors. Every color has a meaning and in wearing a specific color you are hoping for something special to happen to you in the new year. White is a must for the dress (shirt and pants) so that means you will be wearing colorful underwear.
Yellow will give you money and prosperity.
Pink will help you find that special someone.
Red gives you passion (I guess both partners should wear red or it will be one sided…)
Blue brings you harmony.
Orange will give you professional success.
Green will bring you health.
Purple gives you inspiration.
So, for New Years, I will be wearing a white dress and colorful underwear, something I usually try to avoid. When in Brazil….
Eating the right foods will also ensure a prosperous year ahead. Lentils are a staple food on New Years and signify health in the new year. Fish is a good New Years food since fish swim forward. Poultry on the other hand is not recommended as they walk backwards and signify regression in life.
Pomegranate brings wealth. You should eat 7 arils and save the seeds in your wallet. Having them in your wallet at the turn of the year will bring you wealth. For the same reason you should go into the new year with a lot of cash in your wallet. This is not recommended everywhere for security reasons. A pickpockets dream.
Stepping in on the right foot
To start the new year on the right foot, stand on a higher surface and on the stroke of midnight step down with your right foot.
These are a few of the traditions we will adopt this year as we celebrate New Years in Brazil. Brazilians get together in the evening of New Year’s Eve to celebrate. The day after families get together for a good old fashion churrasco which is a family barbecue in which everyone contributes. A very nice way of spending time together.